For optimal comfort in your home, you need to control all the elements to work perfectly with your body, including air circulation, moisture in the air or humidity, temperature, and others. Failure to control them can lead to poor indoor air quality, poor health, and home discomfort. There are various appliances that can help measure, regulate, and control these factors to enhance our comfort. Some of these home appliances include humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
Humidity refers to the water moisture level in the air in relation to how cool or hot it is. You need to regulate your indoor humidity level as too much of it can lead to poor health, and too little can cause discomfort. Both the humidifier and dehumidifier are used to regulate relative humidity. So, what’s the difference?
Humidifier VS Dehumidifier
The humidifier and dehumidifier are often confused for each other despite them being very different. However, they do have one similarity in that they work to regulate the humidity even though they do it in different ways. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, while a dehumidifier removes excess moisture in the air.
The level of humidity in your home will determine what type of product you need. You can measure humidity level using a hygrometer. The average humidity for home ranges from 30 to 50 percent, although other people prefer 35 to 50 percent. If your relative humidity is above 50 percent, then you should consider getting a dehumidifier. On the other hand, if your relative humidity is below 30%, you should consider purchasing a humidifier.
Humidifiers increase the humidity level of a room by adding moisture. There are two main types of humidifiers, including warm-mist humidifiers and cool-mist humidifiers. The main difference comes in the way they create moisture. Cool-mist evaporators are the commonly used types of humidifiers, and they are of different types including evaporative, and ultrasonic humidifiers.
Evaporative humidifiers are self-regulating and operate in a simple way. The humidifier has a reservoir that holds and dispenses cold water into a basin. The water is then absorbed by an absorbent material before being blown by a fan. The air causes some of the water in the wick to evaporate into the indoor air.
If your relative humidity is high, it will be harder for the water to evaporate from the filter. This means that the amount of water vapor released will decrease as the relative humidity of the room increases. An evaporative humidifier can be connected to the HVAC system of a house. The mechanism is almost similar since the water coming from the air conditioner, or furnace is collected in a metal mesh where it is picked up by the air coming from the ducts.
Impeller humidifiers consist of a metal or ceramic rotating disc that vibrates at very high speeds. The disc breaks the water into fine droplets that exit the humidifier through an opening to float in your indoor air.
Ultrasonic humidifier utilizes a metal diaphragm immersed in water that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency. This generates tiny water droplets in the form of steam. This humidifier has a silent operation and produces a cool fog.
Cool-mist humidifiers use various processes to break up water into tiny particles that float into your indoor air as moisture. The water comes out cold and helps to cool the air as well. Steam-mist or vaporizer uses a power source to draw electrical energy to heat a water-filled container until it starts boiling. The steam produced is then cooled down before leaving the humidifier through a tube or opening.
Dehumidifiers help to take moisture out of the air. They work by drawing in warm air through a fan that pulls air into metal coils. A refrigerant that uses chemicals cools down the temperature of the coils.
As the air is cooled, it condenses into tiny water droplets stored in a tank outside the dehumidifier. After moisture is removed from the air, it is then released back into your indoor air through a duct that is powered by a fan.
Types of Dehumidifier
There are two main types of dehumidifiers, with each operating differently. When choosing the type of dehumidifier, you should consider your region’s climate and the space on which you want to dehumidify, whether an office or your home. The main types of dehumidifiers include refrigeration and desiccant dehumidifiers.
Refrigerative humidifiers are ideal in warmer areas, particularly above 65 degrees. On the other hand, desiccant dehumidifiers are best for cold environments as they do not require specific temperature regulation to function.
This is one of the commonly used types of dehumidifier, and it removes moisture by cooling the air. It draws moist air and then passes it over a cold evaporator coil which cools the air until it condenses. The water from the condensation can then be collected on a bucket or drained away via a hose. One advantage of these dehumidifiers is they can filter out dirt, dust, and allergens as air passes through, which can help to improve your health. The cool and clean air is pushed by a fan back into your living or office space.
Refrigerative dehumidifiers work best in warmer regions and require you to empty the water collection tank regularly. You will also have to schedule a filter replacement and regularly clean the grilles over the intake and exhaust. However, if you maintain them properly and clean them regularly, they will last longer. Refrigerative dehumidifiers are versatile and come in a variety of sizes.
Desiccant dehumidifiers reduce moisture in the air by drawing air into the rotor with a material that absorbs moisture. The chemical drying agent used is usually silica gel is generally applied on the heat exchange rotor. This type of dehumidifier is ideal for colder climates since air is not cool before being released.
Size of Dehumidifiers
When finding the right dehumidifier for your space, you need to consider its size. There are whole-house and portable dehumidifiers. Portable humidifiers can be moved easily from one room to another, while whole-house humidifiers are dedicated to spaces such as a residential unit.
These are very common, and they are usually lightweight and very affordable. You can easily move them from one room to another. Portable dehumidifiers typically have a plastic casing to reduce excess weight. They are not as durable as whole-house dehumidifiers, although they can last a long time with proper care.
Whole House Dehumidifiers
These humidifiers are mostly centralized units that balance humidity levels from the entire house. They are more expensive than portable units and require professional installation. Some can be connected to the HVAC system, while others are stand-alone.
How to Maximize the Efficiency of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers use energy to operate, and it’s crucial that they operate efficiently to avoid energy wastage and high energy bills. It is essential that you do not run your dehumidifier 24/7, especially if you are not going to be at home for several hours. Eliminating moisture from unoccupied spaces will end up increasing your energy bills and wasting energy.
Closing your windows and doors will help prevent dry air from escaping increasing colder air in your space. Your unit will be forced to operate longer and get rid of the excess moisture leading to higher energy consumption. Ensure that you keep your dehumidifier away from walls to avoid blocking the airflow. When the airflow is impeded, your unit wastes a lot of energy, which can lower its service lifespan.
Signs You Need a Dehumidifier
- Condensation around windows
- Growth of mold, mildew, or fungus
- Wet ceiling or walls
- Musty smell or feel
- Rotting or weak mood
- Blistering paint and wallpaper
Benefits of Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Humidifiers increase moisture when your indoor air is very dry. Dry air can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms and lead to other infections such as:
- Sore throat
- Sinus inflammation
Dry air can also cause moisture to evaporate from your skin, leading to dry skin. A humidifier can help you keep your skin and hair moist by adding moisture to the air. It can help people who suffer from the following conditions:
- Dry skin
- Irritated eyes
- Bloody noses
- Frequent coughs
- Cracked lips
- Dry throat
A humidifier can also improve the quality of your sleep by reducing snoring. It helps to prevent dry airways and giving you a soundless sleep.
Excess humidity can encourage mold growth and the presence of dust mites, which can trigger severe asthma symptoms. A dehumidifier can help to remove excess air and improve your health. High humidity level can lead to discomfort in your home and other problems, including:
- Poor sleep
- High blood pressure
- Damaged electronics
- Respiratory issues
- Peeling paint and wallpaper
You may need a dehumidifier if you suffer from seasonal allergies or your home leaks after raining. If your house is infested with pests or you are allergic to dust mites, then you may need a dehumidifier. Others include people who suffer from frequent coughing or if you notice excessively moist areas in your home. Dehumidifiers help to prevent conditions such as cold, bronchitis, allergies, and asthma.
1. Do I need a humidifier or a dehumidifier?
The type of unit you need is determined by the humidity level in your home.
2. How do I know if I need a humidifier?
There are various signs that may indicate you need a dehumidifier. They include asthma or respiratory conditions, fever symptoms, nose bleeds, sinus congestion, and dry throat.
3. Can a humidifier be used as a dehumidifier?
No! humidifiers add moisture to the air, while dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air.
4. What is a dehumidifier good for?
Dehumidifiers help to lower humidity levels in your home.